Retaining customers

Keeping customers in tough times is vital for your business’s long-term success. In economic challenges, market disruptions, or crises, customer loyalty is especially valuable. Here are key ways you can improve your chances to retain customers, even when wider circumstances make it difficult.

Provide exceptional customer service

In difficult times, customers may have different problems to deal with – particularly if they are a business themselves also trying to cope. Ensure your customer support team is responsive, empathetic, and well-trained to address customer concerns promptly.

Offer flexibility

Be flexible with your policies and terms. Consider extending return periods, offering payment plans, or providing discounts to support customers who may be facing financial constraints.

Loyalty programmes and rewards

Implement or enhance loyalty programmes to reward loyal customers. Offer discounts, exclusive access, or special promotions to encourage repeat purchases.

Show how you add value

Provide additional value to your customers. This can include free resources / items, bulk purchase savings, or extended warranties. Demonstrating that you care about their well-being can foster loyalty.

Personalised marketing

You can make use of your customer data to personalise marketing messages and product recommendations, highlighting to different groups the different products and services that might be of most benefit to them. This shows customers that you understand their preferences and needs, rather than a blanket one-size-fits-all approach.

Be open about the challenges

When times are tough, people are understanding that this applies to businesses as well. Keep customers informed about the challenges your business is facing. Transparency builds trust and shows that you value your customers’ understanding.

Feedback and improvement

Actively seek feedback from your customers about their experiences with your products or services. Use this feedback to make improvements that meet their needs, and then publicly show these changes to demonstrate how you listen and act on what they have told you.

Diversify your business

Diversification, by adding new or amended products or services to cater to changing customer demands, can be a key element of helping retain your customers – as well as adding new ones. Examine what opportunities there might be, in a way that aligns with your core offer. See more about what steps you might take to diversify your offer.

Build trust through social responsibility

Customers make decisions based on how they feel as much as any practical considerations. Engage in activities or initiatives that resonate with your customers’ values. Show that you’re committed to making a positive impact on the community through working with local community and voluntary groups, supporting local charities, deepening a sense of trust and connection.

Plan for continuity

Have a robust business continuity plan in place to ensure that your customers continue to receive the products or services they rely on, even during challenging times. Read our guidance on creating a continuity plan for your business.

Maintain a positive online presence

Bad reviews can seriously impact your reputation, especially when word-of-mouth is so important, and they can spread quickly online. Monitor your online reputation, especially on sites such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews, and address negative feedback promptly. Show that you’re actively addressing issues and that you value customer opinions.

Stay agile!

Be ready to pivot your strategy and approach as the situation evolves. Businesses that can adapt quickly to changing circumstances are more likely to retain customers.

Remember that retaining customers during difficult times requires a customer-centric approach. Prioritise building relationships, delivering value, and demonstrating empathy. By showing your commitment to your customers’ needs, you can foster customer loyalty that lasts well beyond the challenging period.

Learn more

See how you can diversify your business

Learn more about identifying your target audience of customers